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Some Barthian perspectives on the present science-religion debate: What is the place of “natural theology” today?

Cornel W. du Toit

HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies; Vol 63, No 4 (2007), 1447-1471. doi: 10.4102/hts.v63i4.267

Submitted: 07 May 2007
Published:  07 May 2007


As an example of the context-relatedness of Barth’s work, this article compares his crisis theology with Heidegger’s philosophy of Being. Further examples are Barth’s reaction to the modernism of his time, with its accent on rationalism (see his critique of Kant), and the influence of subjective theology. In spite of his condemnation of natural theology, Barth could make a unique contribution to the current science-theology debate. His reading of the creation story and the way he views (transcends) the literal text in order to experience the Word of God as an event through that text, is a case in point. This approach, too, is comparable with certain aspects of Heidegger’s work. Barth’s reaction to the natural theology of his day was equally tied to that context. His particular target was the theology of that era which he interpreted as “natural theology”. To Barth, natural theology is metaphor for self-assertive, autonomous human beings who, via reason, manipulate the church, the Word and tradition.

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Cornel W. du Toit, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 0259-9422 (print) | ISSN: 2072-8050 (online)

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